Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/15/13 at 12:10 PM ET
from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,
What if we reanimated the gross misconduct and called it on players for partaking in a staged fight?
After floating this idea out on Twitter, most of the feedback was that the grey area between what is and isn’t a staged fight would be too blurry for the rule to function. On the contrary, every rule in the book has a grey area and it’s the job of the referees to decipher a ruling. This is why, in Section 6 of the NHL Rulebook under “Physical Fouls,” minor, major and match penalties all have the preamble, “The Referee, at his discretion, may assess…”
A gross misconduct brings an immediate ejection and review from the commissioner’s office. While you wouldn’t necessarily have to hand out a suspension for each infraction called (although you could set that standard, too), you would certainly sit a guy down after his second or third. The idea is this would start to eliminate cheesy fights 30 seconds into a game or immediately after a faceoff. We generally know a staged tilt when we see it.
Would players find a way around this? Absolutely – they always do. Maybe they bump each other a few times around the rink and in the corner to make it appear less orchestrated. That’s not perfect, but at least the optics are more palatable. And you have to ask yourself: at what point is it not worth the effort to have a marginal player on the roster who takes up ice time to go through these back-door exercises to accomplish a fight?
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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